Mania Grade: C+
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- Reviewed Format: Theatrical Release
- Rated: PG-13
- Stars: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner, Jennifer Coolidge
- Writers: Steve Koren & Mark O'Keefe
- Director: Frank Coraci
- Distributor: Columbia Pictures
This is what happens when you play too much with the fast forward ...
By Rachel Reitsleff
June 23, 2006
Adam Sandler on the red carpter for Click
There are some very funny notions in CLICK, as well as some surprisingly dramatic ones. On occasion, this comedy/drama/fantasy about a man who receives a remote control with special powers works very well. The problem with the movie is not entirely unlike our hero's problem with his life it can't spend enough time actually doing one thing long enough for it to work.
Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) is both a family man and an architect who's having more than a little trouble making time for both his home life and his job. A more minor issue he's also befuddled by the household array of remote controls, so he lets himself be talked into getting a universal remote. Michael winds up in the "Beyond" section of Bed, Bath and Beyond, where he encounters helpful but enigmatic inventor Morty (Christopher Walken), who bestows upon Michael a device that controls real life the way a regular remote controls a DVD player. Michael finds he can pause moments, play back memories and fast-forward through the parts he doesn't want to experience. The trouble is, the universal remote winds up a little too attuned to Michael's personal patterns and takes over his existence in ways he neither anticipated nor really wants.
The screenplay by Steve Koren & Mark O'Keefe has great ideas (the business about what really goes on in "Beyond" is a pun that works on a number of levels). In essence, this is a very modern version of one of those folktales about a schmoe who doesn't know when he's well off, gets some kind of magic gift and has to go through the ringer just to return to where he was. Director Frank Coraci gets unexpected poignancy out of a number of scenes, including some with Henry Winkler as Michael's twinkly old father and a few where wry comedy and regret are on about equal footing.
Why, then, doesn't CLICK work better as a whole? For one thing, the tone whiplashes between broad farce and straight drama, a combination that can be brilliant if handled right but here feels largely unbalanced. Then there's the whole family/work conundrum, which is presented with neither much originality nor any sense that Michael might actually care to some extent about his profession (architects tend to have a little more passion for their creations than, say, office temps). However, the biggest problem is that for every joke that at least raises a smile, there are a number of others that merely lift an eyebrow or fall flat entirely. We wind up not liking Michael as much as we need to in order to root for him to get back on track, and even though there are a couple of dramatic bits with real punch, much of the movie feels like it's working too hard for both laughter and tears without fully thinking things through it's as if the filmmakers went for the first things that came to mind once they had the premise, without feeling the impulse to make sure all the pieces flowed together.
The result is that CLICK has some good moments that are worth watching, but a lot of the material feels recycled and tweaked to fit the surroundings here there are times when a lot of viewers may wish for Michael's magical remote to jump ahead within the film.